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Newsletter No. 37 - July 2012

Links to other Newsletters can be found here.


1. Money: Surely We Can't Avoid the Big Question Now

2. Responses and Reviews for Future Money

3. More on Money

4. Books Reviewed

(1) Richard Murphy, The Courageous State

(2) Brian Davey (ed), Sharing for Survival

(3) Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty, The Resilience Imperative 

Plus A PS sent out on 23rd July



Revelations of deep-seated corruption in the money system have been headline news in Britain in the past few weeks, linked with developments in the USA, Europe and the rest of the world. They emphasise the urgency to act on the proposals outlined in my book Future Money: Breakdown or Breakthrough? published in April -

These recent revelations have led to public demands to:

  • stop rich people and businesses dodging their taxes with the help of highly paid bankers and accountants;
  • stop fraudulent cheating by bankers to profit themselves and their banks by falsifying the 'Libor' interest rates at which they lend money to one another; and
  • stop banks cheating small businesses by forcing conditions on their loans that the borrowers don't know about or understand.

All the big British banks appear to have been involved in these practices.


  • Barclays Bank has had to dismiss its Chief Executive Officer, Bob Diamond - at the insistence of Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England;
  • the Treasury is now open to "the possibility of introducing criminal sanctions for serious misconduct in the management of a bank" - See;
  • a serious breakdown in the 'retail banking' services of the Royal Bank of Scotland affected hundreds of thousands of its customers, reflecting poor attention by banks to that side of their business;
  • HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation), the biggest British bank, has just confessed to the US authorities that it has been guilty of money laundering the profits of the Mexican drugs trade and funding for terrorist activities in other countries, and may be fined more than $1 billion; and
  • the uncertain future of eurozone banks remains unresolved.

So the banks are not oustandingly profitable to our economies, as they claim. They are "bloodsuckers" who feed on it at our expense, as John Weeks, a Professor Emeritus at SOAS (University of London), describes here -

All the evidence now available must surely force us to face up to the big question:

Why on earth do we allow our political leaders to continue giving commercial banks the huge privilege of creating the public money supply as profit-making debt at our expense?

For a short discussion, see "A Good Question for Modern Democracies", "New European", Spring 2012, Vol 21, No 1, pages 2-6. Authors of other articles on aspects of Europe's financial problems in this issue include Tarek el Diwany and Julian Rose. Free pdf copies can be obtained from Luise Hemmer Pihl at skrodhoj[at] 


2. SOME RESPONSES and REVIEWS so far for Future Money: Breakdown Or Breakthrough?

[A reminder that subscribers to my email newsletter can download a free pdf of Future Money. You can subscribe here. Hard copies of the book can be ordered from]

(1) Jehangir Pocha, chief editor of India's NewsX TV station, said

“I am really enjoying Future Money. It is an excellent book, with the simple language and structure of a 101 textbook but the underlying profundity of a treatise on philosophy.

”It is also an important book, and so I wanted to ask if you know how I can order some copies for India. I want to send the book to various ministers, politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats, including our central bank governors".

Green Books has sent copies to him, and I am very grateful to Barbara Panvel for the contact with him. An example of Pocha's thinking is at (from the Centre for Holistic Studies, Mumbai).

(2) James Bruges Letter in The Guardian, 15 June 2012 -

"Again and again, Threadneedle Street says that banks need help: the lady doth protest too much, methinks (Chancellor releases more than £80bn to protect banks from euro contagion, 15 June). It is the foolish or deliberately pernicious lending by banks since deregulation that has caused the debt storm, not Europe. Personal debt in the UK was £12bn in 1970; now it's £1,450bn. Debt will continue to rise if banks are allowed to continue creating the nation's money by sinking us into debt and charging us interest.

It is people and small businesses – that buy and sell and keep the economy moving – that need to be bailed out, not banks. In his new book, Future Money, James Robertson suggests that the proverbial visitor from another planet would stand aghast at the way we have given private institutions the privilege of creating our money for their own benefit."

James Bruges, Bristol

(3) Jeremy Williams, blog -

(4) Martin Stott, in Town & Country Planning, June 2012 -

(5) Tony Vickers - MONEY review.pdf

(6) David Broman, Luxembourg - a pdf of his article can be seen here -

The website version can be found here - Click here to read a Google Translate version of the article in English.

(7) Simon Thorpe, blog -

(8) Graham Barnes, Feasta, Ireland -

(9) Richard Lemmer, Greenhouse blog -

(10) School of Economic Science, Study Forum, April-May 2012 - viewtopic.php?p=4552&sid=39423f5 



(1) "Greece can have both the drachma and the euro", James Skinner & Tony Greenham -

(2) "What I would tell Greece to do tomorrow if they asked", Simon Dixon -

(3) "Banking vs Democracy: how power shifted from parliament to the banking sector", Positive Money -

(4) Extract from 4th July Message, American Monetary Institute -

"....... Jefferson fought the bank, helping to bring it down and Burr killed Hamilton over public insults; but privately issued money had gained a foothold in America. It's still here, in control of our monetary system. It's the root cause of most of our social and economic problems. Whenever it caused crises in the past, our government had to come to the rescue. Its latest atrocity is the current monetary, banking and economic crisis, threatening to take the entire world economy down into depression, and destroy the lives of billions of people in the process.

It must end now! This crisis gives us our only opportunity to reform our monetary system and eliminate the private creation of money; to eliminate the privilege banks have to create our money supply when they extend loans; to eliminate using debt for money! ".

(5) Deirdre Kent (deirdre dot kent (at) in New Zealand has written a very important paper on "A land-backed currency issued by a local authority".

It can be downloaded from

It should be studied by anyone seriously interested in local currencies, local land value taxation, a local citizen's dividend, and local planning.

(6) For details of the new book by Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers on People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies, see



I can enthusiastically recommend these books to readers interested in their subject matter.

(1) Richard Murphy, THE COURAGEOUS STATE: RethinkingEconomics, Society and the Role of Government, Searching Finance Ltd, 8 Whitehall Road, London W7 2JE, 2011, paperback, 317 pages, £14.99. For full details, including Contents and Reviews, see

In recent months Richard Murphy has prominently criticised how rich people and businesses avoid paying their due contribution to society through the tax system, and the shameless activities of bankers and accountants who get rich by specialising in tax avoidance. This important book deals with those and wider issues.

I support it wholeheartedly, although I have some differences with it. For example, I believe that historically the problems of our money system today go back much further than to what has followed Keynes and Beveridge since 1945.

We have to recognise that, while it is essential for our political leaders to be more courageous, in the circumstances prevailing today that raises a huge question. How will the nature of democratic politics allow our politicians to be courageous when, in order to protect the survival and success of their political careers, they have to respect the conflicting demands and pressures of so many different groups of people, including electors, colleagues, opponents, and the press and broadcasting?

I hope Murphy's book will itself help to resolve that vital question by persuading active citizens to demand much more insight and courage from our politicians.

(2) Brian Davey (ed), SHARING for SURVIVAL: Restoring the Climate, The Commons and Society, published in memory of Richard Douthwaite by FEASTA (Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) Dublin, 2012, and distributed in Britain by Green Books. Paperback, 188 pages, £14.99/€17.50.

Other authors include Nick Bardsley, James Bruges, John Jopling, Justin Kenrick, Laurence Matthews and Caroline Whyte. For details, including a full Contents list and information about all the authors, go to

This book is a very welcome and understandable response to the dwindling momentum of attempts to deal with climate change at the global level - for example at recent U.N. conferences in Copenhagen, Durban and Rio.

I expressed doubts in Future Money about schemes for 'cap and trade' and 'cap and share' because, as things are at present, those schemes have tended to complicate the overall money system in ways that confuse how it should work. That has been one of the factors allowing those who manage the schemes to rip off their users.

However, in his opening chapter Brian Davey recognises that climate policy in general, and cap and share in particular, must be developed against the widespread inertia now existing. "The alternatives to the present log jam have to be constructed outside the political and economic mainstream".

Davey goes on to say that "preparations are needed for a rapid transfer over to a new system that is running in embryo when things begin to break down, when an older generation flounder and prove quite unable to understand and quite incapable of coping". James Bruges, in his chapter on "Cap and Share in India" confirms that Indian culture offers opportunities to develop self-reliant 'cap and share' schemes from the bottom upwards.

STOP PRESS, JUST ARRIVED - brief details only

(3) Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty, THE RESILIENCE IMPERATIVE: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy, New Society Publishers, Canada, 2012, paperback, 389 pages, $26.95. Details at include an excerpt from the book, a Contents List and Author Profiles.


James Robertson

20 July 2012


A PS on 23 July -

Good news! The following message reached me and other Positive Money supporters on Friday shortly after my newsletter had gone out -

It shows that The Big Question discussed in my Item 1 -

Why on earth do we allow our political leaders to continue giving commercial banks the huge privilege of creating the public money supply as profit-making debt at our expense?

- is beginning to get on to the mainstream agenda. Very encouraging.

To get the bandwagon rolling even faster, Positive Money could use more support.